To all this concerns:
I am writing to express my thoughts on the Site C Environmental Review Process because I was born and raised in the north Peace River region of B.C. and I remember well the three (3) month “environmental impact” review prior to the building of the W.A.C. Bennett Dam. The carnage created when the river was blocked that spring, drowning calving deer, moose, caribou and elk and countless birds’ nests and unknown other creatures was the stuff of nightmares.
I have to say that today’s announcement that the Prosperity (sic) Mine environmental decision was repealed at the federal level gives me a sick feeling that the Harper government operates in shameless bad faith and cannot be trusted not to interfere with what scientists and citizens presented and which they once accepted as a reasonable and fair decision. Now that they have a majority, I fully expect they will revisit other decisions that prevented their friends and campaign donors from making money when they figured it was their entitled right to do so. However, I am here today, knowing full well the tactics of shameless politicians, to say: I am a citizen and I am watching this process closely.

We know what happened to the Athabaska Delta when the first Peace River dam, the W.A.C. Bennett Dam, was built. We know about the damage to the delta, to two First Nations villages, to the water and land animals and birds, is nearly incalculable. We know the second Dam, the Portage Dam, added further to the inexorable environmental damage downstream. We all know the shale and sandstone parent material through which this ancient river flows is prone to slumping and that the original dams will need to be “cleaned” out somewhere around seventy years after they were built, to remove the sedimentary blockage. We know that the transmission lines from the Peace River dams to southern B.C. lose 15% or more of the electricity carried within them, just by travelling hundreds of miles to the southern markets. We know that the fracking friends of the current Harper and BC Liberal (sic) governments need more reservoirs in order to keep extracting natural gas from the Montney and Horn River shale beds and ruining water tables and all sorts of other unpleasant side effects from that activity. There is so much that we know about the damage wrought by the first two dams and the feeder industries in the North, which science with integrity confirms, that is ignored by greedy, power-hungry politicians and their pals and funders in the corporate world.

I also do not think there is anything remotely clean or green about the Site C dam plans. Flooding prime farm land, some of the only Class I and Class 2, left lying fallow in BC (bought up by BC Hydro decades ago, such a waste) so that we can all keep on trucking pallid, aged winter produce from California and Mexico et al to the Peace is simply short-sighted, dinosaur era thinking. Anyone who has lived and worked on the land, as I have, knows it is nigh on criminal to flood prime farm land in this era, when food security is a major issue. But we are dealing with a federal government in denial about climate change, about global warming, about the true and lasting cost of our carbon footprints, about the Tar Sands legacy, contaminated water tables and what happens when mines and dams are built in unstable areas.

It is my hope that the environmental studies will take place over five years (to outlast the current governments at the federal and provincial levels) and that their findings be made completely accessible to the public. It is my hope that no scientists be told to hush up, as has happened with the B.C. Wild Salmon collapse investigation, that no federal oath of secrecy be imposed on the scientists. We are paying their wages, not the Harper government and we want the unvarnished, unedited truth of the fact-finding mission.

Thank you for considering all the above.

Yours truly,

Caroline Woodward
Tofino, BC

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